Chevy Tahoe Citizen Marketing Campaign

Last night I got an email from a friend that he’d received from a friend who had entered the consumer generated ad contest by at and promoted on . The promotion invites you to create your own TV ad for the Chevy Tahoe, using a very slick web site where you can drag, drop, and edit multimedia assets such as video, music, and text to create your ad.

The email, which had originally been posted to a few lefty nonprofit email formus, contained links to spoof or political commentary Chevy Tahoe ads at , mostly SUV-bashing anti-global warming messages.

Some of them are amusing and some are just preachy. Here are some examples:

What Would Jesus Drive?


Hosted at the site:

Conventional wisdom seems to be that GM made a colossal mistake with this campaign. did a segment last night on the campaign that captures that angle:

"if left unedited, [this Chevy Tahoe campaign would be] one of the better consumer-created marketing
promotions…If all we saw on that site were glowing praises of the vehicle, the promotion would simply be seen as just another lame attempt at capitalizing on a trend and a giant corporation trying to thrust it’s twisted version of reality upon us."

I agree. And it appears that the folks in charge of the campaign anticipated ads that would mock the product. A quotes  Chevrolet spokeswoman Melisa Tezanos,  saying "We anticipated that there would be critical submissions. You do turn over your brand to the public, and we knew that we were going to get some bad with the good. But it’s part of playing in
this space."

I think the positives far outweigh the negatives in this case. Think about it. The most biting anti-ads are those that have to do with global warming and the people with whom those ads resonate aren’t going to buy a Chevy Tahoe. No way. No how. They’ll never be potential Tahoe customers.

I’m more their target consumer. I drive a gas-guzzling , so if I were looking for a new ride, I could be a potential customer. And you know what? I don’t appreciate the holier than thous telling me I’m immoral for buying an SUV. I doubt I’m alone. In that sense, these anti-ad might even innoculate Chevy a bit against the anti-SUV sentiment.

On the plus side, has garnered a ton of free media from the campaign. A lot more people know there’s a new Tahoe out than they did before and if the controversy has piqued their interest enough, they’ve probably watched it in action.

Even before Chevy has picked the winning ad.

How many times have we read stories about Corporation X sending cease and desist letters over things they don’t like. Even if it’s begrudging, GM is getting points for not trying to censor the negative ads.

Finally, the campaign has also created a lot of online buzz, with or .

For an awareness campaign, you can’t get much better than that.

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